Selby wins thriller final to conquer world title

01:20:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Mark Selby - the 2014 world champion
Mark Selby managed to do the unthinkable and beat the five-time world champion (also until now reigning champion), Ronnie O'Sullivan by 18-14, after a really thrilling final that saw the Jester from Leicester being led 10-5.

It's been a marvellous final this one, even if the first two sessions proved to be quite dull (more about them here). However everything changed when these two grand masters of the green baize returned today to have their third session of cues crossing. At this points O'Sullivan was in control, leading by 10-7.

And the first thing that was different was indeed Mark Selby. A good night sleep suited him well, as the Englishman practically stormed in into a strategical battle powerfully sustained by breaks of 55, 52 and 74 which make sure his comeback was the real deal. The scoreline was now showing a perfect 10-10 partial result.

Ronnie O'Sullivan - the 2014 World Championship runner-up
But Selby didn't stop here and won one more frame, a scrappy one, in which his biggest break was a 28. But it didn't matter, because for the first time he was in the leading position and by counting the last two frames he captured during the previous session, the Jester was no on a 6 one in a row. Massive!

A dramatic 22nd frame say both players taking turn in potting some very uncooperative snooker balls, in the end though O'Sullivan (who was practically "numb" as he himself would state after the final) managing to wrap things up with a top break of 50 and so draw level at 11 apiece.

The next frame lasted no less than 50 minutes and so the session was cut short, but the most important things was the fact that it was indeed a genuine battle of nerves. It all ended on the colours, with Ronnie missing the final pink that would have secure him the frame!

At 57-67, Selby keep his head cool and managed to pot both the pink and the black to take the lead once more, this time at 12-11.

Mark and wife Vikki celebrating the victory
No more than two hours later Brendan Moore (the ref in charge who btw was reffering the World Final for the very first time) was announcing the start of the final session when a practically revived Ronnie O'Sullivan was smashing every ball on the baize for a spectacular 100 break that was drawing level.

But that was about it from the mighty Rocket, for Selby used runs of 34, 23, 25 and 56 to grab the next three frames and go 15-12 ahead. This was getting serious!

Unfortunately Ronnie started biting his nails and saying things under his breath, which all snooker fans know it's a bad sign. Add this to missing important balls and you have one very frustrated player.

Still, he found the strength to hit in runs of 30 and 49 in order to pull back a frame, before Selby could strike in breaks of 127 and 87 to go one away from victory.

Ref Brendan Moore receiving a medal from Barry Hearn
The last frame was an absolute thriller as Ronnie got the first chance, runs of 15 and 41 giving him a solid start of 56. On the other side of the table Selby was missing a red on 22, but when his opponent potted the cue ball and got on with the chance, he made a perfect clearance of 35 to win the frame, the match and the final for that matter on the black!

Selby raised his arms up in the air (a bit like Dennis Tayler when he beat Steve Davis in 85 - only in a more dramatically way) to celebrate his first world title. He waited for 7 years to reach the final of this beautiful event.

O'Sullivan proved to be gracious in defeat, admitting Selby was the better player, "too strong" for him and that sadly he "didn't have it today".

Ronnie gets second prize
At the same time Selby said that when you win the World Championship you want to win it by playing Ronnie O'Sullivan and mentioned how important this victory is for him. His dad died when is was but 16 years old, just turning pro and Mark promised him he will win the World Championship on day for him .... (pause for crying ...oh come on, don't be shy I know I cried a bit).

The victory as well as the fact that he's re-become (if I may say so) world number one, was shared with his beautiful wide Vikki who's been by his side, in the audience feeling each miss and cheering for each pot.

Hear me roar!
So, here it is peeps, after 17 days of pure madness the snooker marathon comes to an end. A sad and emotional day for me, I must say, but what a great present to have this final.

It's been a while since I felt so much tension and emotions running wild in a Crucible finale, so I can't but be grateful for Selby and O'Sullivan put on quite a snooker show.

Congrats to Mark Selby for proving that even if the entire world finds his cue style boring he can still win with it and congrats to Ronnie O'Sullivan for reaching yet another final and for keeping the dream of so many young players alive.

These two, as different as they are, are the best!